Saturday, July 12, 2014

Early Birthday Date on the Mystery Train // June 2014

For a while I had been hearing good things about the Kansas Belle Dining Train, so for my birthday Kyle booked a table for the murder mystery and dinner!

I was so excited because it's not the kind of thing that we get to do a lot. We rarely have a reason to dress up and eat fancy meals... so this was a lot of fun for me!

I chose a dress that I've had for a year or so, but never had the chance to wear, and a scarf to make it feel extra fancy. I threw on my black peep-toe wedges and grabbed my newest vintage black clutch and we headed off to the train.

The day was hot as always as we drove out to Baldwin, Kansas to the train depot. We waited in the lobby of the depot with the other passengers before boarding the train. We were quite a bit younger than the average person in the group, but there were probably three other younger couples on the trip as well.

We all fit in one car, and we were seated at the end of the car. We sat down and I was I in love with the train. It was decorated patriotically for the holidays, but it was like we were in another time. The 1940's to be exact, because that is when these particular train cars were used for travel.

It was so neat to see all of the fun details that pulled the feel of the train together, from old lamps on the tables, to curtains on the windows and the big band music playing in the background.

Not long after getting seated our host explained the evening to us; we (the passengers) were to be the characters in the murder mystery skit, and during the halfway point we would eat our five course meal. We were personally a little thrown off. We had read that the train employed actors from The New Lawrence Theatre, and were expecting more of a production. On top of that, I am just not one who desires to act in front of others. I mean, I was the girl involved in the high school plays and musicals every year, but never had more than a few lines, by choice. So this was something that I really wasn't expecting or prepared for. Luckily, only one person from each table had to take a part, so KC (who is such a great sport!) decided to take one instead. He's the BEST.

We started eating our appetizer plate while the parts were assigned and the information given out. KC ended up getting the part of Boris, a possible Russian spy. It turned out that there were somewhere between fifteen and twenty parts... all but two were to be acted out by the passengers. The appetizer plate was filled with grapes, peppers, celery, sausage, cheese etc. It was all pretty good, I don't eat cold cheese so I didn't attempt it, but they were huge hunks! I'm not sure how one would eat a piece in an elegant way.

The waitresses seemed to be taking drink orders (in mass quantity) from everyone in the car besides us... but we finally got someone's attention and got to order. I decided to try an old fashioned sounding one called the 'Yankee Clipper'. It was apple Schnaaps and gingerale. It was very, very good!

Soon enough we were taking off toward Ottawa. It was so fun to be on a train again! The last time was probably about 10 years ago when my family and I took the train from KS to Chicago. This was more fun overall though, because of the theme and because it was much shorter, and there was definitely more to see out the windows. We passed corn fields and little was rural KS at it's best and greenest!

The mystery began with our hosts acting out their parts, and eventually the passengers had lines to join in. It started out pretty fun, there were quite a few passengers who seemed to enjoy acting! One problem though, was that it was very hard to hear a lot of the diologue from the passengers in the front of the car. Another thing, is that some of the middle aged passengers doing a lot of the acting were about four drinks ahead of us... and getting really loud, and of course making adjustments to their lines to add periodic dirty jokes. This wasn't so much annoying as it was really hard to keep track of who was speaking, what they were saying, what they actually meant to say etc... doesn't really make it possible to solve a mystery! Eventually one of the characters 'died' and so we started our meal.

The dinner began with a sort of spicy/bitter cabbage soup, that was interesting. It wasn't my favorite, but KC really liked it; which surprised me as he isn't much of a soup guy! :)

After that we had our ceasar salads, which were good.

Then the entree came, which in our case was prime rib, a baked potato and green beans. The prime rib was excellent! And, I'm not much of a carnivore. The green beans were nice and fresh but very garlicky... and the baked potato was just ok. Overall it was just a lot of food, a pretty tasty meal, but probably not quite worth what we paid.

After the entrees were gone the mystery started back up, and I think everyone had about three more drinks with dinner. It was so crazy that it was hard to follow what was happening. Too many characters, too much booze and everything made it even harder to hear and solve the mystery. Plus people continued to change their lines, which only made the host exclaim over and over, 'That's not what I wrote!', in good fun, but without relent. By the time we got our cheesecake and the most alcoholic coffee in the world, my head was so overwhelmed I didn't even know how to go about determining the killer.

When the skit was over we were each given a few written clues and were told to trade over and over to get the most information to solve the mystery. We ended up trading with about half of the tables before our 'time was up' and none of our clues were very helpful. We just ended up choosing someone, though as soon as we turned in our paper, KC figured it out and it was too late. Oh, well! Though it would have been fun to be the only team to guess correctly. :)

Overall, this particular trip didn't make us feel that the extra money for the murder mystery part was worth it. The food was more reasonbable, and going back to enjoy just a dinner and music could be very nice. I really did enjoy eating on a train and getting dressed up for a new adventure with KC! I think that going back for the mystery again would only happen with a larger group of people, or when they are definitely having actors from the theatre there. I feel that would make it more worth the price!

Thank you Kyle, for the sweet birthday date. It was great to try something new with you!

Have you guys ever been to a murder mystery party, dinner or train ride?

I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Thank you for Reading!


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